"I would have loved to have challenged myself one last time" - Ashleigh Barty admits to wanting one more shot at Serena Williams

Five months after her retirement announcement the global tennis community, Ashleigh Barty has confirmed that she’s at peace with her new existence but would have loved to had played WTA legend Serena Williams one last time.

Having quit tennis aged 26 at the top of the sport as World No.1 and reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, recently married Barty is content to move on with her life, with one long-term goal to support Australian tennis through an academy she is setting up with two former coaches, Craig Tyzzer and Jason Stoltenberg.

Quirkily, her retirement has happened in the same year that one of the sport’s greats, 23-time major winner Serena Williams, flagged her imminent retirement. It’s just that the two stars are 15 years apart in age.

Barty doesn’t carry regrets from her time in tennis, but she freely admits she would have loved one more crack at playing the American, a player who will forever have a 2-0 advantage against her.

Williams beat a teenage Barty at the 2014 Australian Open and then, four years later, needed three sets to get past her at the French Open at a time when the Australian was getting her game going before becoming world No. 1 in 2019.

Then, in an Australian Open lead-up event last year, Barty had a walkover against Williams.

“The first [time] I was a very young girl who was intimidated,” recalled Barty. “The second time I thought I had a chance and I did. But the way that she plays and her greatness was too good for me.

“I would have loved to have challenged myself one last time. That’s my competitive spirit, and me learning from the experiences that I had.

“Not many people on this planet get to say that they played Serena and I’m one of those few people that really got to experience her when she was at her best. And I think that was really exciting. It’s a memory and an experience that I’ll never forget and learnt a lot from.”

Williams will leave the sport in a blaze of publicity at the US Open, which kicks off on August 29, 2022.

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments